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Food with the wow factor at The Dabbling Duck in Great Massingham… at prices that reflect the quality but don’t break the bank





With its picture postcard village green, duck ponds, village stores and quaint cottages, Great Massingham has to be one of West Norfolk’s most attractive villages – but does the local pub live up to its surroundings?

My wife and I visited The Dabbling Duck on Thursday evening and I straight away had a good feeling about the place. Bustling and busy, the drinking and eating areas were already filling up as we arrived around 7pm at what is clearly still a village pub – albeit with a great food offering.

On being seated, we were straight away impressed with the food on offer. The menu changes regularly and there are also blackboard specials, but this evening starters included house-cured duck bresola and crispy squid, with mains such as pork with barbecue runner bean salad. It’s always refreshing to see things on the menu you’ve not tried before.

Josi's main course of pan-roasted pollock
Josi's main course of pan-roasted pollock

For a starter I chose the soup of the day, which was carrot flavoured with star anise (£7). It came with a bread roll and vegan spread and was wonderful, with the licorice taste of the spice perfectly complementing the sweetness of the carrot. Josi tried one of the small plates and really enjoyed her beef pastrami and pickles (£4).

I follow a vegan diet and must admit the choice when I eat out isn’t always that great – however, I totally accept this as, with only 1% of us not eating meat and dairy, what can I expect? However, the offering at The Dabbling Duck was great and I was intrigued to try the Corn Seitan with sour cream waffle, shack salsa verde and Mexican bean salad (£16.50).

For those of you not familiar (I wasn’t), seitan is a high-protein meat substitute made of wheat gluten. On its own it’s mildly flavoured, but with the gorgeous bean mix and the spicy salsa, it was mouth-watering. The waffles were amazing too.

The Dabbling Fried Corn Seitan
The Dabbling Fried Corn Seitan

Josi went for pan-roasted pollock ((£21), and this dish had some special touches too, with saffron confit potatoes, smoked fennel, preserved lemons with feta,corgettes and herb sauce. She said it was gorgeous.

She chose her favourite sticky toffee pudding (£8.50) for dessert, which she said went wonderfully with a honey caramel sauce, waffle and ice cream. My blood orange vegan ‘cheesecake’ (£9.50) was off the charts too, with the candied almonds and cocoa nib shard so tasty.

For drinks we’d gone for a simple dry wine (Josi, £6.30)) and a large coke (me, £3.30), but when I spotted they had their own gin selection I was keen to try it out and found the non-alcoholic Seedlip Garden gin with Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic (£5) refreshing and tasty.

My carrot soup starter, with star anise
My carrot soup starter, with star anise

All in all, thsi was the best meal we’ve had out in an extremely long time, and the most superb vegan dishes I’ve ever eaten. If you’re looking for food with the wow factor, at prices that reflect the quality but don’t break the bank, try the Dabbing Duck. You won’t be disappointed.

The beef pastrami small plate
The beef pastrami small plate

Ratings out of five

Food: Very tasty, beautifully presented and some original dishes. *****

Drink: A large offering including their own range of gins and suggested mixers. ****

Staff: Friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. *****

Price: £82.10 (£67.50 without drinks) is a decent price for such wonderful food. ****

Decor: The mix of country pub and cosy dining spaces is spot on. *****

My blood orange 'cheesecake'
My blood orange 'cheesecake'
Josi's Sticky Toffee Pudding dessert
Josi's Sticky Toffee Pudding dessert
I tried the Seedlip Garden nn-alcooholic gin
I tried the Seedlip Garden nn-alcooholic gin

Know of a place we should review? Email your suggestion to newsdesk@lynnnews.co.uk



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